Monday, February 10, 2020

Review: "The Bridge to Belle Island" by Julie Klassen

Every year, I look forward to reading Julie Klassen's new release! After several years of writing a series (the excellent Tales from Ivy Hill), she's back with a stand-alone novel, The Bridge to Belle Island.

After a humiliating mistake, lawyer Benjamin Booker resolves to never again trust a beautiful woman. When an old friend is killed, the senior partner isn't satisfied with Bow Street's efforts and asks Benjamin to investigate. Eager to leave London for a while, Benjamin agrees. Evidence takes him to a remote island on the Thames, a world unto itself, shrouded in mist and mystery. Soon he finds himself falling for the main suspect—a woman who claims not to have left the island in ten years. But should he trust her?

On Belle Island, Isabelle feels safe and leads a productive life, but fear keeps her trapped there. When Mr. Booker arrives with news of her trustee's murder in London, Isabelle is stunned. She has not left the island, yet she has a recurring dream about the man's death. Or is it a memory? She had been furious with him, but she never intended...this.

When a second person dies, and evidence shockingly points to her, Isabelle doesn't know who to trust: the attractive lawyer or the admirer and friends who assemble on the island, each with grudges against the victim. Can she even trust her own mind? While they search for the truth, secrets come to light and danger comes calling.

The Bridge to Belle Island is a really fun murder mystery! I didn't expect that it would lean quite so hard into the murder mystery aspect of the plot, but I found that I really enjoyed it! The plot kept me guessing throughout, and I didn't ever have it quite figured out.

I did feel, though, that once the killer was revealed and the mystery portion was over, the rest of the book fell a little flat. A good 350 or so pages are devoted to a short time period (maybe 2-3 weeks), and then the last 40 pages span months. After being so engaged in the first 85% of the book, I felt like an outsider looking in during the last 15%. It almost felt to me like the novel needed to end once the mystery wrapped up, and then Isabelle and Benjamin's story could continue in a future novel.

I still really enjoyed the novel, and I would recommend it, but it wasn't quite as amazing as I've come to expect a Klassen novel to be. 4 stars.

Buy the book. (affiliate link)
Read my reviews of Klassen's The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill (5 stars), The Ladies of Ivy Cottage (5 stars), The Bride of Ivy Green (4-1/2 stars), The Painter's Daughter (5 stars), The Apothecary's Daughter (3-1/2 stars), The Maid of Fairbourne Hall (4-1/2 stars), The Tutor's Daughter (5 stars), The Dancing Master (4-1/2 stars), and The Secret of Pembrooke Park (4 stars).

Julie Klassen loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full-time. Three of her books, The Silent Governess, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. The Secret of Pembrooke Park was honored with the Minnesota Book Award for genre fiction. Julie has also won the Midwest Book Award and Christian Retailing's BEST Award, and has been a finalist in the Romance Writers of America's RITA Awards and ACFW's Carol Awards. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota. For more information, visit

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free for review from the author and Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This mean that if you click on a link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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